Investment in biomass research is ramping up, and our R&D department has calculated that over the last 30 years, at least £57 million, and counting, has been invested in the development of Miscanthus in the UK and Europe.
“Interest in the crop is continually growing,” says Michael Squance, Terravesta’s science and technology director.
“The UK government’s recent Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, where £30,000,000 is being spent on growing sustainable biomass is a testament to the robust future for Miscanthus,” says Michael.
Terravesta is now a third of the way through its OMENZ project, for which it received a £3.3 million investment through the programme.
“Over the past 30 years, Miscanthus has been the focus of numerous projects,” says Michael.
“Many of these have concentrated on Miscanthus directly, while others have looked at it alongside other cropping options,” says Michael.
Mike explains that many funding bodies have been involved, including the EU Commission, BBSRC, InnovateUK, ESRPC, and the UK and Welsh Governments.
“Projects range from Miscanthus genetics to different end-uses, drought tolerance, and its ability to grow on polluted land, many of which we’ve been involved with.”
The major investments over the years, excluding the recent Biomass Feedstock Innovation Programme, previously mentioned, include:
- 2011 – Giant LINK – £6.4 million
- 2012 – OPTIMISC – €4 million
- 2017 – GRACE – €15 million
- 2021 – BFIP (BEIS now Department for Energy Security and Net Zero) over £7 million on Miscanthus-associated projects
“It’s our hope that investment continues, as research into this amazing crop is crucial for growing the sector, and all our commercial decisions are based on the science.
“We look forward to the government’s Biomass Strategy being published this summer, and hope Miscanthus will be recognised as a crucial part of our net zero future, backed by science,” adds Michael.